Erwin Chemerinsky to DiscussFuture of Constitutional Law

Erwin Chemerinsky, the Alston & Bird Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Duke University, and dean-elect of the Donald Bren School of Law at the University of California, Irvine, will visit the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum on Monday, Nov. 19 to discuss “The Roberts Court and the Future of Constitutional Law.” While the 6 p.m. dinner with Chemerinsky is restricted to the CMC community, his address at 6:45 is free and open to the public, with seating on a first-come basis.

Chemerinsky, author of four books and named in 2005 as one of “the top 20 legal thinkers in America,” joined the Duke faculty in July 2004 after more than two decades at the University of Southern California Law School, where he was the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. Before joining USC, he was a professor at DePaul College of Law and practiced law as a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice, and at Dobrovir, Oakes & Gebhart in Washington, D.C.

In addition to his books, which include Federal Jurisdiction (Aspen Law & Business, Fifth Edition, 2007) and Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies (Aspen Law & Business, Third Edition, 2006), Chemerinsky is the author of more than 100 law review articles that have appeared in journals such as Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Stanford Law Review, and Yale Law Review. He also writes a regular column on the Supreme Court for California Lawyer, Los Angeles Daily Journal and Trial Magazine, and is a frequent contributor to newspapers and other magazines, as well as a commentator on legal issues for national and local media.

In addition to arguing several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the liberal scholar, with Loyola Law School Professor Laurie Levenson, made headlines in the mid 1990s when they argued that California’s Proposition 209 ballot measure would, among other things, revoke or have “a devastating impact on programs to remedy discrimination against women and minorities.” (State voters passed Proposition 209 in 1996.) Elected by voters in 1997 to serve a two-year term as a member of the Elected Los Angeles Charter Reform Commission, he also served on notable commissions charged with, among other issues, reviewing the Los Angeles Police Department Rampart Scandal, as well as irregularities in the city’s contracting.

Chemerinsky’s name continued to make headlines more recently, after he was named by University of California, Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake as the university’s inaugural Dean of the Donald Bren School of Law, scheduled to open in 2009. Drake rescinded the deanship appointment after Chemerinsky had signed on for the role an action that became the subject of an editorial in the Sept. 14 issue of the New York Times.

Drake met with Chemerinsky several days later, with the pair issuing a press release afterward indicating that Chemerinsky would, in fact, be heading the new UCI law school in two years. The prestigious appointment thus paves the way for the law school to become the fifth law school in the University of California system, and the first public law school to open in California in 40 years.

Chemerinsky, named by the Daily Journal every year from 1998 to 2003 as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in California, is a graduate of Northwestern University and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School. His numerous awards include the 2003 President’s Award from the Criminal Courts Bar Association; the 2003 Freedom of Information Award from the Society for Professional Journalists; and the 2002 Community Service Award from the Western Center on Law and Poverty.